As innovation continues to explode in the financial services sector, from the launch of boutique banks to large-scale financial aggregator platforms and AI-powered chatbots, neobanks are the latest addition to an impactful scene.
Tom Moran, Associate director of Experience for EPAM Systems, is currently at the forefront of some of the biggest shifts in customer experience. Here he explains how the future of banking puts the customer at the heart of their financial world
How has the world of banking changed recently?. In general, the new generation of neobanks have thrown out the rulebook of old banking paradigms and replaced it with open-banking innovations, intuitive app experiences and revolutionary new ways to manage money.
Whether you’re a fintech challenger or an established global bank, the landscape for finance has undeniably transformed – and with it, so have customer expectations. From developing new fintech brands to helping transform existing global banking platforms, EPAM’s been at the centre of one of the most exciting periods of change this industry has known. If that experience has taught us anything, it’s that the biggest challenges and changes are still to come.
How will future forecasting transform spending habits?
One of the key features of the first generation of neobanks is the smart crunching of spending data to visualize macro trends. By providing customers with tools that deliver macro insights—such as highlighting spend burndown or grouping transactions by category—banks have made a huge impact on customers’ financial health by simply allowing them to see where their money is going.
However, to support customers in a meaningful way, the next generation of banks need to not only give a snapshot of where the money has gone but also show where the money may go in the future. Using predictive algorithms to plot upcoming spending across days, months and even years demystifies the future for customers, enabling them to take greater control of their financial health.
How do you see the next few years evolving?
Over the next two to three years, we will see a shift towards ubiquitous banking that will see customers will move away from interacting with their banks through traditional browser and app screens and instead focus on multiple digital touchpoints and small interactions taking place over hours or days. This platform of services opens up engagement across multiple channels and gives customers the flexibility to choose how they engage with their bank.
A customer’s banking relationship shouldn’t be accessible solely through logging into an app several times a week to check their money – it should be brought to them. For example, micro-reports with daily updates on customers’ current financial health can be delivered directly to their preferred digital touchpoint at a time that suits them, such as receiving in-app visual reports on the commute home or Alexa flash briefings delivered while making dinner.
Will increased competition play a part?
Building an effective and engaging experience relies not only on advanced features and smart uses of data, but also on creating user interfaces (UI) that are clean, modern and built on intuitive, user-tested designs. A key advantage in launching a neobank is the opportunity to build a brand from the ground-up—without the constraints of legacy architecture—ensuring the UI is digitally-friendly and designed with ubiquity in mind in order to provide a consistent experience regardless of touchpoint.
Despite what smart predictive algorithms and chatbots may become, there will always be a role for customer service teams. Chatbots have proven their value in handling some of the more common day-to-day problems; however talking to a human is often not only easier for the customer but creates powerful touchpoints that can help build a lasting and trusting relationship between a business and its customer. Human connections are a fundamental layer to the future of digital banking and can be a far more powerful tool than any AI-powered service or interface.
In conclusion, the future of banking will require neobanks and traditional banks to build a ubiquitous experience powered by hyper-personalized assistive intelligence that puts the user at the heart of their financial world. Those that succeed will intuitively know how to serve their customers at every step of the journey – and most importantly find the perfect balance between automation and fundamentally human moments.